Acetaminophen for back pain is a very common over the counter remedy taken by millions of patients for symptomatic relief. Acetaminophen is actually the most popular pain reliever used worldwide. Acetaminophen is also called paracetamol and is used as a pain reliever for mild to moderate symptoms from a variety of causes. Paracetamol is also known for being the choice of patients who demonstrate sensitivity to aspirin.
This editorial examines the benefits and risk of acetaminophen, when used to treat a diversity of back pain conditions. We will discuss how the drug is utilized and provide important information that all users should know.
Acetaminophen is marketed under many popular brand names, as well as several generic names including: Tylenol, Anacin-3, Tempra, Datril, Acamol, Adol, Aldolor, Alvedon, APAP, Benuron, Biogesic, Buscapina, Cemol, Crocin, Dafalgan, Daleron, Depon, Dexamol, Dolex, Doliprane, Efferalgan, Gelocatil, Lekadol, Metacin, Pamol, Panado, Panadol, Panamax, Panodil, Paracet, Paralen, Paramol, Perdolan, Perfalgan, Pinex, Plicet, Reliv, Rokamol, Sara, and Tachipirina.
Acetaminophen is also available combined with other drugs in these common brand names:
When mixed with codeine: Co-Codamol, Tylex CD, Panadeine, Tylenol #1/2/3/4, Captin, Disprol, Dymadon, Fensum, Hedex, Mexalen, Nofedol, Paralen, Pediapirin, Perfalgan, and Solpadeine.
When acetaminophen is mixed with oxycodone, it is called Percocet.
When acetaminophen is mixed with hydrocodone, it is called Vicodin.
Paracetamol is not an anti-inflammatory back pain management drug and usually does not have adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Very few patients have negative GI reactions when taking acetaminophen. Constant or long-term use has been linked to instances of liver damage in some patients.
Make sure to discuss any health problems or drugs you are taking with your doctor, before using Acetaminophen as part of your back pain treatment program. This will help to prevent problematic interactions with other pharmaceutical or herbal substances you may be using.
The general risks of using paracetamol are low, but the pain relieving qualities are also not very substantial. Acetaminophen is fine for treating mild to moderate symptoms but will not do much to combat severe or chronic back pain. It is a good choice when combined with a more powerful opioid pain reliever, since the Paracetamol will increase the opioid effectiveness, while lessening the side effects and risks for dependency. However, these combination drugs are still dangerous and patients must be monitored carefully when using Vicodin or Percocet type drugs for any length of time.
We tend to discourage the use of any type of drug therapy, since the product will need to be used long-term in order to enact lasting relief. The collateral consequences of extended OTC drug use can be harmful or even fatal. It is far better to pursue curative care that will end the need for ongoing treatment. We continue this discussion on the limitations and risks of drug therapy in our acclaimed book: The Pharmaceutical Trap. You can find it as part of our proven back pain relief program.